The winter garden: the White House

Violet house section of the White House conservatory, early 1900s, by Barnett McFee Clinedinst
The violet house section of the White House conservatory, early 1900s, by Barnett McFee Clinedinst

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole greenhouse devoted to growing violets for the house during the cold weather months?

Or orchids and palms?

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Frances Benjamin Johnston took the above photographs (except one) in 1889 and 1890.

Or azaleas?

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A large conservatory complex occupied the west side of the White House from 1857. . .

The White House and conservatory in 1857 by Lewis Emory Walker.
The White House and conservatory in 1857 by Lewis Emory Walker.

until 1902, when the West Wing was built.

The greenhouses in 1889 by Frances Benjamin Johnston.
The greenhouses in 1889 by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

All photos above via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Four more winter gardens are here.

The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.

Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, from “Sonnet

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